The Fruit, Herbs and Vegetables of Italy: An Offering to Lucy, Countess of Bedford

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Prospect Books, 2012 - Cooking - 151 pages
This is a new edition of a classic of early seventeenth-century food-writing. The book was written by the Italian refugee, educator and humanist Giacomo Castelvetro who had been saved from the clutches of the Inquisition in Venice by the English ambassador, Sir Dudley Carleton in 1611. When he came to England, he was horrified by our preference for large helpings of meat, masses of sugar and very little greenstuff. The Italians were both good gardeners, and familiar with many varieties of vegetable and fruit that were as yet little known in England. He circulated his Italian manuscript among his supporters, dedicating it to Lucy, Countess of Bedford, herself a keen gardener and patron of literature. Gillian Riley's translation of this hitherto unpublished document has been recognized as being fluent, entertaining and accurate from its first appearance in 1989. Castelvetro takes us through the gardener's year, listing the fruit and vegetables as they come into season, with simple and elegant ways of preparing them. Practical instructions are interspersed with tender vignettes of his life in his native city of Modena, memories of his years in Venice and reminiscences of his travels in Europe

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User Review  - herschelian - LibraryThing

Centuries before the current health campaign to get us all to eat more fruit and vegetables, Giacomo Castelvetro was trying to persuade people to do the same thing. He wrote this book in 1641AD when ... Read full review


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About the author (2012)

Gillian Riley has written on food for many years, most particularly on food and art and on food and Italy. Her earlier books include The Dutch Table (painters and food) Renaissance Recipes (food in Italian paintings), Impressionistic Picnics (food in Impressionist art) and the National Gallery cookbook A Feast for the Eyes. Her great achievement with regard to Italy is her Oxford Companion to Italian Food. It was in 1989 that this translation of Giacomo Castelvetro was first published, reflecting her abiding interest in the Italian language and early Italian cookery, an enthusiasm confirmed by her translation of Maestro Martino's Libro de Arte Coquinaria. She is currently engaged on a study of food in art from prehistoric times for Reaktion Books. She lives in London

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